In drama, struggles and tensions within the lives of characters and the situations they face are important for the building of the plot and maintaining the attention of the audience. In Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Fences by August Wilson, the main characters of the plays face struggles which move the plot along, while adding anticipation and excitement. Willy and Troy face struggles internally and externally with society. Willy struggles with failing business, while Troy struggles with feelings of being segregated form society. Both men also face conflicts with their marriages and with their relationships with their sons.Order now
These struggles are evident throughout the entire play and are enhanced by many examples. Conflicts and tensions within these plays create an effective and stimulating story line.
The characters Willy, from Death of a Salesman and Troy, from Fences, both face struggles with society. Willy is an aging salesman who no longer is able to keep up with the amount of work that is required for him to succeed. Willy says, I know it when I walk in. They seem to laugh at me (Miller 1702).
Willy is starting to understand that he no longer is mentally and physically able to do his job and people are also starting to realize his weaknesses. Willy tells his wife, Linda, that other men at work laugh at him behind his back. The audience sees Willys struggle with his career in the following:
But I gotta be at it ten, twelve hours a day. Other men- I dont know- they do it easier. I dont know why- I cant stop myself- I talk too much. A man oughta come in with few words.
One thing about Charley. Hes a man of few words, and they respect him. (Miller 1703)
As seen in this dialogue, Willy believes that he has to work harder than other men in order to stay in business. Willy is struggling with feeling worthless. His whole life has been built around his job and building a financially stable household. Now he struggles to keep a steady income.
Willy understands societys emphasis on the importance of a profitable worker. Linda says, A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man. He works for a company for thirty-six years this March, opens up unheard-of territories to their trademark, and now in his old age they take his salary away (Miller 1713). Willy works his whole life with a stable job, which is suddenly jeopardized. Willy struggles internally with feelings of worthlessness because of his job situation. In his interview with the Paris Review, Miller says Willy believes a man who experiences failure in society and in business has no right to live (2035).
In her work titled Marxism and the Early Plays of Aurther Miller, Helge Nilsen states, Human beings are sacrificed to economic interests in ways that are not only immoral, but even criminal in nature (2038). Society places a huge emphasis on a persons economic status, and Willy begins to struggle with this immensely. Willy falls victim by the free play of economic forces, and this is a main conflict theme in the play (Nilsen 2039). In Fences, the character Troy also faces conflict with society. His conflicts are not necessarily based on economic problems, but rather on feelings of injustice brought on by the white race. Troy believes the white man is out to destroy the black man.
The audience sees Troys attitude toward white men in the following:
I told that boy about that football stuff. The white man aint gonna let him get nowhere with that football. I told him when he first come to me with it. Now you come telling me he done went and got more tied up in it. He ought to go and get recruited in how to fix cars or something where he can make a living. (Wilson 1838)
Troy discourages his son, Cory, from playing football because he thinks sports will not get him anywhere in life.
Because of Troys past experiences, the white society is out to get him. He thinks white society is against the black people, and that the only .